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December 30, 2005 05:55 PM Food & Wine  |   Link
Wine or Whine about Madonna

Ok, this is totally something new for me. While I've received gifts of personalized wine the labels are usually just laser printed with a message and a name. But Celebrity Wines has this new line launched with Madonna's latest album.

Madonna Wine

I can't vouch for the wine but I think the art of the label would be nice if you're a collector. But I guess I can always scan my CD insert and paste it on an empty wine bottle :)

December 29, 2005 11:27 AM Cars  |   Link
Car Update

We're so convinced of Volvo's solid cars that we think we're going to sell the Civic and get either a sedan or another wagon. It turns out from the body work estimates that the damage is actually more than what we paid for the car or just slightly $100 less than what we paid for it. Now J is bummed we didn't get comprehensive so that the company would just give us the cost of the car. Oh well. We're praying that the other insurance company takes care of the body work since it was the other driver's fault even though he has no idea what happened. It's really strange driving around yesterday without the driver's side mirror. I had to keep looking over my shoulder.

December 28, 2005 12:09 PM Just Because  |   Link
Chan Bistro & Bed/Breakfast

We did it. We hosted 9 people for a sitdown dinner in our little abode. We did it bistro style with 2 tables.

xmas2005 061_web.jpg

We had to move the furniture around but it was a blast! We played musical chairs so that we can mingle with the other members of the family. What a spontaneous get together. Some relatives haven't seen each other in 5 years so it was truly special.

Served shepherd's pie and butternut squash & apple soup...Aunt M brought a nice big salad....for dessert my cowboy cookies with ice cream and Aunt M's mocha roll....wow such a blast from the past.

Chez Chan Bistro and Bed/Breakfast Photos

Be sure to stop at Chez Chan while there are still vacancies.

PS: Food Network search engine is horrible!!!!!
PPS: Other holiday photos: Bethleham AD, Chou Gathering

December 26, 2005 11:35 AM Cars  |   Link
Car Accident

We didn't even have the car one week and we got into a bad car accident last night while we were driving back from J's family Christmas party down from SF at 12:20AM. It was raining hard last night and a minivan hydroplaned into us. I'm glad J wasn't driving fast. We're just glad we were in the Volvo wagon . If it were the Civic we would have easily spun out and slammed into the freeway wall. We lost the driver side mirror, and driver side door and the back door was dented pretty bad. We're both ok but we were shaken up last night really bad and probably didn't get much sleep.

December 24, 2005 04:17 PM Spirituality  |   Link
Christmas 2005

Did a tree, didn't buy many gifts, and no cards...but still wanted to wish all my visitors a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Did our pilgrimage to Bethlehem AD in Redwood City and had a wonderful time. They made bread on hot stones, saw a potter, and metal smith. Many elements of the first Christmas, even Roman soldiers. Had a wonderful time watching Pastor Dennis in action and our very own friend Erica Z playing an angel. Our photos are pretty dim and I'll post shortly. Here is a video for those curious.

More about Bethlehem A.D.

December 22, 2005 01:56 PM Whine  |   Link
Update on Workouts and Stuff

Ok I've hit a plateau. It's not the exercise necessarily as much as the holiday desserts and snacks. It's quite dangerous since I don't want to wipe out the past 10 weeks(before knee injury) of boot camp for the slice of dessert. I've maintained really well without doing WW points or exercise since Thanksgiving. However when the weather gets better I'm going to give the water aerobics class a try. I went to the gym yesterday and had a good workout on the elliptical but at half the resistance. I was able to do about 20 minutes of ab work and boy can I feel it today!

I wasn't planning to donate blood again since I had a painful experience last time(a bruise the size of a grapefruit on my arm). But after repeated calls for my particular type/etc. blood I relented and begged for a kinder, gentler needle. So I went and while the prick still stung...no bruise and they got their bag of blood to help someone in need. I think I need to find better distractions for while they take the blood. The ipod and reading scripture is just not cutting it. Btw, thanks to the nurse who gave me the shiny jingling bracelet...it helped take my mind of things.

Tree is up with some decorations. Thanks again for the many Christmas/Hanukkah/Holiday cards. They have added a festive cheer to our living room.

We just hosted a family of 1 dad with 4 kids (2 of which were twin 8 year old boys) and had a wonderful time. The house was a bit tight but it was a first to host that many folks for a sleep over. I can't wait for them to come over again :) Thanks for coming S. family!

Piano playing is coming along. Will be looking for an instructor again but needs to be closer to home. J's playing on the guitar has really improved recently so we're hoping to entertain at our family get together on Sunday.

Trying to finish 2 websites by the end of the year. Hopefully I can share them as well when I'm done.

December 20, 2005 09:18 PM Cars  |   Link
We've Given In...

We couldn't last with just one car...but we lasted over a month. J's department just moved south and not closeby to caltrain. J just picked up a used 850 volvo wagon. It's in teal very 90s, but we got it well under our budget. We're pretty excited that we can haul our junk now...Summerwinds Nursery here I come!!!!

Photos to come shortly.

December 16, 2005 11:55 AM Whine  |   Link
Domestic Life and the Challenge of Not Being Martha Stewart

Wow this past week has been chock full of domestic activities. I just finished a light-hearted book on nesting.

It's definitely a fun book full of ideas, tips, vignettes of women living a domesticated type life and feeling a little bit more accomplished. Of course I realize it all goes out the door when you have kids as I have heard from close friends. However the recipes and short-cuts for entertaining or even gardening will prove useful someday.

So this past week I learned how to make cookie-cutter sugar cookies and with the lack of artistic abilities was able to decorate them for a community outreach activity. I was also able to do various baking activities involving recipes not found on the back of the Toll-House Chocolate Chip bag, banana nut bread, chili from scratch, and corn bread from scratch.

In addition, I was able to hem my own pants which has saved me some good money since I'm shorter than most petite sizes on the market. I'm starting to get a bit more familiar with my sewing machine and can claim 2 successful projects, even though they were just 2 aprons from Sewing for Dummies.

The garden is a mess but will definitely weed and mulch in the next week or so. Will be planning to add lighting and a better system for the fountain. It's been neglected for the most part this past year because of the redesign of the interior which as I speak is short of a couple of pieces of furniture and some lighting. Did manage to borrow a Christmas tree this year, with just 5 ornaments it's kind of sad looking right now, but hope to hit up Ikea or Kmart shortly for more. Feel free to send us ornaments if you have no clue what to give us.

While at times I envy Martha Stewart's abilities at making domestic life exciting and fun, I still fall short of the eye for detail, patience and creativity to really fully pull it off. I don't have all the entertainment ware and haven't even pulled out our nice stemware for get togethers. Although wine or champagne in styrofoam is definitely a path I won't go down.

Do you mind if I just serve salad in a bag sometimes? Or just get the pre-mixed cookie dough? And maybe oatmeal is the only thing good right now while the weather is chilly. I'll probably have to solicit the help of domestic experts shortly to help with adding the finishing touches at home, but for now I'm content and happy to serve up all the meals and doing laundry.

December 07, 2005 08:38 PM Just Because  |   Link
Alternative Gifts for the Holidays

So you don't like standing in line to purchase gifts. Hate the stress of not knowing what to get for those special family members. Here's a way to celebrate the true meaning of giving...to those with a real need.

Don't know what to give someone who really has everything they need. Consider giving a herd of goats to a remote village in a developing country in honor of that special someone...

Alternative Gifts International

Update: More charities as an alternative gift: Network For Good (www.networkforgood.org), and Heifer International (www.heifer.org).

Whine  |   Link

It's been a while since I've watched a little one(1 month old) and it has definitely brought back memories from my high school and college days making an extra buck. I think in the old days I used to freak out when the tike freaked out like no holds bard(after all means of known soothing) but I think the last few times of watching toddlers and babies have been a great learning experience in peace and patience. I don't think it phases me. From what I've learned you can't show fear or even think it or feel it because the baby can sense it too and realizes hey that the lady holding him is not his mom and I'm going to get louder so that my mommy comes back.

I guess when we get our own it will really change our idea of what communication means. I can already imagine us get all Type A to get them to communicate to us in plain English. I've often wondered how soon someone will invent the baby translator that was featured in The Simpsons. In one episode Homer's brother(played by the voice of Danny DiVito) invents this machine that is able to translate little Maggie's gabs and cries.

December 03, 2005 10:16 AM Cars  |   Link
And then there was one...once again

So in the past 2 years we've owned about 6 or 7 different cars...and today we just sold the last of our miatas...we've regretted selling the yellow one after all the hassle and tender care needed for the black one. So we're down to our faithful Honda Civic which we've had for over 6 years. I think all these car swappings is a sign that we need to grow up a little and settle down with more family friendly/hauling type cars/wagons. Will keep you posted on what we decide. The list is as follows: Mazda 5, Volvo V70R, Honda Element, Subaru Outback or Toyota or Honda's minivan.

Health & Fitness  |   Link
It Really Kicked My Butt

I guess pushing myself too hard has taken its toll on my knees. I have chrondromalacia in my right knee and can't do boot camp or anything involving running, deep knee bends or squats so that includes circuit training too. I'm super bummed since I like the overall health benefits of a leaner body. I guess I'll have to check out spinning and water aerobics for now until my knee heals.